Tag: Movies

[BLOG] Hatton gives Something Extra about Wonka….

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Can we discuss Wonka?

Those that know me know that there are a handful of movies that are ‘my thing’ – movies that, back in the day of VHS tapes and stegosaurii, my copies wore through. The original Wonka, Gene Wilder, 70’s perm and all, is probably the first film I can even think of that I wouldn’t stop watching as a kid. Since then, I’ve learned I wasn’t the only one and Wonka fits similarly into many people my age because of our exposure to it at the dawn of cable and the tape.

We are now getting not one, but two Wonka related movies and I am filled with the fury of a middle aged white man on the internet. So lets take a look at the rumors as to what we’re getting in the Wonderful World of Wonka and gauge how angry I’m going to be… to be clear, Depp Wonka gets me a 9 out of 10 on the Hate’Ometer, saved from a 10 solely by the CGI squirrels.

The first is a ‘young Wonka’ story, as portrayed by acting Wunderkind Timothee Chamalet (to be clear, I have no idea if he’s a wunderkind (or how to spell that)) I just know that he’s in a lot of places, and I don’t know anything about him. That said, this is rumored to be the first in a ‘Wonka Cinematic Universe’ which is a phrase that makes me wince so hard I felt my neck pop. The only saving grace to this entire concept is that the writer connected to it is Simon Farnaby who has done some notable work (including Rogue One, The Mighty Boosh) — but as the Depp Wonka taught us, sometimes, telling us too much ruins everything.

The second one is an animated series being created by Netflix and helmed by Taika Waititi of What We Do In Shadows and Ragnarok fame. This, mind you, I have less of a problem with as I have always wondered why there wasn’t a traditional Saturday Morning Cartoon about Wonka. There were cartoons for Back to the Future, Pac-Man, Robocop.. all that came well after the property had seen its golden days, so why not Wonka? A cartoon also feels quite less important in the scheme of the universe and a lot more ability to be playful without living in a green screen.

In the defense of both of these concepts, I do appreciate that they are being done by not-Americans. Waititi from New Zealand and Farnaby from England, Dahl’s humor and sensibility was most certainly not an American one and we’ve already proven we don’t deserve the rights to write a Wonka film… in the end, a cartoon gets only mild grunt from me, but a Cinematic Universe? Please don’t. Oh dot, please oh please do not. No good can come of it and what other books are you going to tie that into?! Maybe a discussion for another blog.

Unless, mind you, these Wonka properties help bring back Wonka candy bars… the ones that had the graham crackers in the blend… then you’ll get a pass as I sit on my couch with a mouth smeared in chocolate that a Gloop would be proud of.

[BLOG] A Little Something About WNUF Halloween…

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I recently saw a movie on Shudder that I’d like to talk about. We usually don’t use this space for individual reviews, but this was so unique, and so bothersome for me, that I thought I’d change up the formula.

If you don’t have Shudder, it’s the Netflix for horror films. From classics to a lot of new, to some original.. it really is a great mix of the genre. That said, horror is one of the easiest genres to do poorly, so there is quite a bit of bad amongst the brilliant.

Amongst them was a movie called ‘WNUF Halloween Special’ that came out in 2013. The reason that it is notable is that it is framed like a syndicated news report. I’m sure if you live near a larger city, you have your ‘WNYC NEW YORK’ affiliate with its ‘GOOD MORNING, DAYTON’ morning show and its weekend ‘PORTLAND LIFE WITH CHIP MOCKLY’ or whatever. They talked about the big stories, too, but they always felt a little more personal and it wasn’t unheard of to even know or run into the anchors.

Well, WNUF frames their handcam-horror show based on a report that came out in the late 80s, early 90s as a reporter and camera person go into a supposedly haunted house to perform a seance on Halloween. The anchors are smarmy, the host is a jaded old news rat, the locals that have gathered are awkward and have no idea how to talk into a mic. It feels as real as it possibly could. The first five minutes, I was floored that this concept had never been concieved of doing before.

Then the commercials. If the news spots were good, the commercials are amazing. Each one handcrafted to taste like some local business. State fairs, late movie creature features, car salesman in stupid outfits.. its all there with this grainyness and audio tinnyness that feels like it comes straight from its era and was ripped off VHS. Again – if you have nostalgia for this period of time – you will be blown away how hard it hits the nail on the head.

So we should watch it, you ask…

No – no you shouldn’t. Because what it succeeds in framing and graphical expertise in making everything feel and sound beautifully period, it fails in a story. It goes to commercials all too often, which is period accurate, but narratively frustrating as hell. In the same ways I was astounded that they made me feel like I was watching WPIX NY, I got angrier and angrier as a steady dose of nothing continued to happen.

I watch a lot of bad cinema, and I walk away going ‘well, they did what they set out to do’, but rarely does a piece of work make me feel anger at how much potential it gave up. If this is what my parents meant when they said ‘I’m not mad, just disappointed’ – then I finally get it.

If you have Shudder, do yourself a favor and watch the first 15 minutes of this… then turn it off, and imagine a really great movie they could have made. It will be better than the one you skipped.

You can find more reviews like this, over at my LETTERBOXD account where I catalog everything I watch when I remember to.

[The Wheel] Recasting Hateful 8

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IT’S STILL YEAR 8!

And now it’s time to spin the wheel.. the wheel full of odd and interesting ideas and weird episode ephemera we can’t seem to fit in any other week. So what happens when you take a movie – and recast it with the same actors… but from other roles? 

Well, I’m going to tell you what – you have today’s episode of the Wheel where we try and shove other characters into Hateful Eight. 

Why Hateful Eight? Because we have a theme we’re holding on to, and I’ll admit, this is the best we came up with. So, we go over the details of one of Quentin Tarantino’s most devisive movies and replay it, but with a bunch of weird choices.

Ready? Ok – here we go!

Full Episode

[Something In Review] Super 8

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Just a lil story about a boy on his bike and the cute alien he keeps in the front basket…

…if by cute alien we meant horrifying kaiju – and by basket, we meant ‘from destroying the entire city’

It’s our Year 8 festivities yet again (hint: they’ll be going on all month) – so we are taking a favorite of Hatton’s and discussing whether it holds up – now or ever. So settle in, have a Slusho and dodge the incoming lens flare – it’s Super 8 on Something In Review…

Ok, here we go!

Full Episode

Year 8: Favorite Movie Quotes

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♫ Happy Birthday to us… ♫
♫ Happy Something dear Something… ♫

That’s right – the Somethingcast has made it to Year 8, and with that comes a month of a little something we call: More Episodes

That’s right, we’re celebrating Year 8 in style with a theme this month.. you’ll figure it out.  That said, this week we went live on Twitch to party with a crew of folks and recorded it to become this week’s episode. We’re talking movie quotes, which is one of those topics that feels so remarkably part of who we are, it was a surprise we never actually broke down some of our favorites.  Not the world famous, but OUR favorite. 

So settle in and let us know what your favorite quotes are… we’re all ears – and cheers to Year 8!

Full Episode

[BLOG] A Little Something Extra : My issue with Zack Snyder

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My issue with Zack Snyder

Zack Snyder is what you might call ‘polarizing’.  You either seem to love or hate his films.

For myself, when he’s held to fairly strict limitations (IE 300, Watchmen), his films can be amazing to watch.  WHen left to his own devices and creativity, his films can be an absolute convoluted shit show.
The only exception to this may be his first movie, “Dawn of the Dead”.  It was brilliantly done, and really put Snyder on the map as having not only an eye for cinematography, but… dare I say ‘reverence’… for the original material?  Romero’s original is beloved among fans, and it was a dicey proposition to take on a remake of that property, but is usually regarded as his best work.

300 and Watchmen (and yes, I can forgive the creative change to the squid), were visually stunning to the point that, to me, it felt as if the pages of those graphic novels came to life.  The way the scenes were shot, the feel of it, the faithfulness to the original material (again, squid notwithstanding) made them, for me, highlights of what Snyder was capable of.

Then… you get absolute messes like Sucker Punch, Man of Steel, Batman Vs Superman… all which COULD have been amazing (in my opinion, some do actually like them), except for the fact that Zack Snyder remembered he’s “Zack Snyder” and had to Zack Snyder all over them.  If you’ve seen any of those movies, my statement needs no explanation.

Which, brings me to Army of the Dead.

The pre-title bit was actually amazingly intriguing, and set my expectations for a fairly specific story which…  Zack being Zack…  completely went sideways and off the rails, and not in a good way.  By the time the opening credits were completed, it felt like the entire concept of the movie had changed, and yet.. .I was still curious to sit through 2 and a half hours of Zack being Zack to see where it went from there.  Sadly, the rest of the movie seemed to not give a shit about not only the pre-title stuff, but even the stuff that happened during the opening credits.  Was the CGI cool?  Sure, but Snyder movies are always visually stunning, even when the stories are shit.  Was the acting good?  Hard to say, and, in a zombie movie, is that really THAT important when zombie tigers and over-the-top gore are your primary drivers?

I’m sure people get in to the film business because they have stories they want to tell, but in my opinion, Zack Snyder should stick to telling other people’s stories in a different medium.

– PCR

[The Wheel] Elevator Pitch: Movie Franchise Amusement Park Ride

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Last week, we were honored to be a part of Livestream For The Cure and if you weren’t there, you missed out on a helluva party.

That said, we wanted you to see our hour of the party and hopefully you’ll get in on the fun next year.

Joined, and judged by Nick of the Epic Film Guys, the Somethings are on an elevator, and we only have a few brief (..or not so brief..) moments with Mr. Anthony Michael UsementPark to sell him on our great idea that merges an oft ignored movie franchise and give it the big park treatment.  Roadhouse Bumper Cars? Karate Kid: The Crane Kick Dropper? It could be anything – and before we get to our floor, one of us will get to live our ‘big ride’ dreams…

BUT FIRST! – If you are looking to donate to help us live in a world without cancer – click here for the current donation page.

Now, settle in and keep your hands inside the vehicle at all times – Ok, here we go!

Full Episode

[BLOG] Hatton defends ‘SAW’!

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It is not a surprise, if you are a fan of the show, that I am a big Saw fan – and am looking forward to seeing Spiral. I’m not mentally prepared to head back into a real live theater yet, but the minute I have the ability to see it at home.. I most assuredly will.

That said – Saw gets a pretty bad wrap.  I’m sure you’ve heard the term ‘murder porn’ and I use the term myself, just because it is a great definer for the genre. Saw, Hostel, Final Destination.. movies where there is less focus on the murderer (Jason, Freddie, etc) and more on the vehicle of demise.

At its heart though, Saw has a grander story to tell – that if they knew it was going to be such a success beyond its first and second installments, I’d like to believe they would have secured that vision tightly. Since, though, there was a period of time in the late 00’s where a new Saw film was as regular as the sun rising – some corners were cut and opportunities missed.  I do understand that there are some holes in the following logic because of actions that occur throughout the series, but it is my headcannon for Saw, and I think it elevates it beyond the ‘Cool Death Simulator’ we see it is.

John Kramer was a man with a string of bad luck. Doctors who didn’t care about him. Insurance that wouldn’t back him. A wife that was trying to change the world, who because of of her work, lost a child. The world spit on John and cast him aside at every turn, and he was going to find a way to get revenge. Each of the initial murders was, albeit impossibly difficult and with some amount of pain and disfigurement, escapable. We even learn that more than one person has not only escaped, but followed Jigsaw’s ethos and joined in his cause.

Of course, great power, great responsibility – and not all of Jigsaw’s converts are fighting for the forces of (exceptionally deadly) light. Detective Hoffman becomes the anti-version of Jigsaw’s vision, killing out of sociopathy versus method. Amanda, Jigsaw’s most dedicated apostle, and his ex-wife who was both estranged but also sympathetic to John’s fight – are left to stop him.

At its heart, when John Kramer is doing the killing – there should be a method – a vehicle – an answer – and a punishment that fits the crime. When Hoffman acts as Jigsaw, that should be a perverted and near always unwinnable challenge. Yes, this is all concerning the methodology of two murderers.. but, if you remove the bodycount of exploded limbs, John Kramer made the people that survive rethink their lives and reconsider what living is. He is obviously not a hero, but in terms of roleplaying games, John should always be Lawful Evil and Hoffman should always be Neutral Evil — but both will always think they are doing good.

What do you think of the Saw franchise? Do you think there is a moral component beneath the reverse bear traps and the pits full of hypodermic needles?  Let us know!


James Hatton – Freelance Writer, Professional Host, and Online Nuisance
Creator of In His Likeness @ http://www.inhislikeness.com
Babbling twice a month @ http://www.somethingcast.com
Sign up to keep up with all things Hatton @ http://eepurl.com/beGGuP

[Something In Review] Star Wars Prequels

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Since ‘This is the May’ or ‘The Fourth Be With You’ or ‘Revenge of the Sith’ or ‘Bleep Bloop BawThirteeneep’ month, we decided to not just give you ONE episode of a galaxy far far away, but a couple of them!

This one was live on Twitch on May 4th, so go sign-up so you don’t miss next month’s. We could have talked Mando again.. we could have talked Battle of Endor – we decided to go back and check to see if the Star Wars from a decade ago holds up. Does the Trade Alliance negotiations make a good story? What about a 3 hour podrace? And love stories abound…. that’s right, it’s the heel turn of Anakin himself, the Star Wars Prequels.

So settle in as we dive into 6+ hours of everyone’s life that has been hotly debated since the’sa come out to the biggum movie screens.

Ok here we go!

Full Episode

Star Wars Tech

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A Long Time Ago… On A Podcast Far Far Away…

The Somethings are getting in on all of the May the Fourth fun, jumping parsecs ahead of all of the other podcasts and discussing some of their favorite toys of the Star Wars universe. From blasters to droids to ships to those cool binocular things – Hatton and PCR are breaking down some of the coolest toys from the universe of the light and dark sides. 

And if you happen to be seeing this the day it posts, the boys will be live on Twitch tonight with another sojourn into a particular star war – some come hang out!

So sith right back… ok, here we Grogu…

Full Episode